In 2007, we started a scholarship program in Guatemala that allows young women to access junior and high school. Traditionally, Guatemalan women do not have the same educational opportunities as men, particularly in the rural communities that we work in, and the result is that almost 80% of rural Mayan women are illiterate.
Since the program’s inception, we have offered 60 scholarships—about 8 per year, with the number of recipients increasing slightly each year.
In exchange for their scholarship, the girls volunteer once a week with our sister organization in Guatemala, Qachuu Aloom. They may work in the garden, teach literacy skills to a group of women in their communities, or help our nutritionist treat patients in the villages. This way, they learn additional skills while also giving back to their community and the organization.
“It was good to be able to learn about how our bodies work and what our rights are.”
Attending school is an important opportunity for young girls in Guatemala. However, we are committed to going beyond just giving our scholarship students a traditional education. We hold workshops to encourage the girls to talk about things like sexual health and gender equality—topics that these girls would not otherwise learn about or have the opportunity to discuss with their peers. These students are participating in a Q&A about reproductive health as part of a two-day workshop.